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Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

This is a discussion on Worm farming - almost everything you need to know. within the Axolotl General Discussion forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I'm so glad I found this post!!!! I have been feeding my axies my breeding stock.... oh no!!! But now ...

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Old 1st February 2014   #21 (permalink)
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Red face Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

I'm so glad I found this post!!!! I have been feeding my axies my breeding stock.... oh no!!! But now I know!

What an excellent description and instructions. ...

Also make sure you turn your soil so your compost doesn't get too warm lol. I lost 500 worms that way. Lol. Now you see them now you don't. Those 500 worms I bought became part of my compost.

So now I turn my soil whenever I am getting the worms out to feed my axies.



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Old 29th March 2014   #22 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Just a quick tip. If you want to harvest your own worms from your backyard (or even better, a wooded area) , just go to a bare patch of earth (dig up any grass in the way and move aside any leaf litter). You can mix 1 gallon of water with 1/3 of a cup (40 grams) of ground mustard powder once you get there because it will be more potent. When I did this we made 5 gallons with that ratio. Shake well! Then just pour the solution onto the ground and watch your worms appear. You may have to try a few spot, and it may cost more money in the end than just buying worms from a bait shop, but its also kinda cool to summon some worms to the surface. I thought it was cool anyways,...



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Old 29th March 2014   #23 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Any irritant will work - mustard, pepper, even washing up liquid - but you'd have to quarantine the worms for at least a week to ensure whatever you used had worked it's way out of the worm's system.

I still prefer damp card and patience though!



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Old 29th March 2014   #24 (permalink)
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Glad I read this! I want to try n catch some with the potato feed and see what happens. Thanks!


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Old 31st March 2014   #25 (permalink)
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Thank you for this! I plan on starting mine soon. As for soil would organic miracle gro work? I have a HUGE bag of that around here.


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Old 31st March 2014   #26 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Do you know what the added 'organic' fertiliser is in the miracle gro? Usually plain topsoil or compost is best, but if the extras are manure or rotted vegetable matter it should be OK.



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Old 31st March 2014   #27 (permalink)
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It does look like it has nitrogen potash and phosphate in it. I'll just stick with some topsoil. Thanks =) I'm excited to start my 'farm'!


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Old 1st April 2014   #28 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

To find earthworms or nightcrawlers all you need to do is go outside and go to a wet or moist spot and flip logs, rocks, and other things. Not that hard. I feed all my caudatas by using this method, and the best part is that sometimes you stumble into a caudata! Or you can try digging also, but make sure the soil is moist at least. And don't be afraid to get your hands dirty!

EDIT: @ arrowwood, I have seen these things also, and have wondered the same thing. I am not sure if they are parasites or not, but its probably just best to avoid them, just to be safe.



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Old 17th April 2014   #29 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

I've just set up a worm farm in a 25L storage box, with small holes drilled through all the sides to allow plenty of air. I've filled it with a 70:30 mixture of compost and shredded paper and have poured a thin layer of potato sludge on the surface. Now I need some worms! I've added a few that I dug up in the garden as my axies needed feeding asap, but I'm not sure how many to order (planning to use Yorkshire Worms) to stock the entire farm? I need to feed 3 (soon to be 5) axolotls and my questions are:

-How many worms will I need to start with in order to feed the axolotls (daily) while maintaining a constant (or growing) worm population?

-Is it worth ordering the large worms (that would all be above 4" long) or should I order a random selection?

Thank you



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Old 18th April 2014   #30 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NadeZ View Post
-How many worms will I need to start with in order to feed the axolotls (daily) while maintaining a constant (or growing) worm population?

-Is it worth ordering the large worms (that would all be above 4" long) or should I order a random selection?
I would order mixed sizes - you'll have large ones for breeding, medium ones for feeding and small ones for growing.

If you need 5 worms per day to feed your axies thats 150 a month, to manitain that you'll need a minimum of 500 to start with. You can always order some more if you start to run short - I always do when my juvies are big enough for worms. Just make sure you've always got some big mature worms with fat saddles for breeding stock.



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Old 18th April 2014   #31 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

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Originally Posted by auntiejude View Post
I would order mixed sizes - you'll have large ones for breeding, medium ones for feeding and small ones for growing.

If you need 5 worms per day to feed your axies thats 150 a month, to manitain that you'll need a minimum of 500 to start with. You can always order some more if you start to run short - I always do when my juvies are big enough for worms. Just make sure you've always got some big mature worms with fat saddles for breeding stock.
Thank you very much! :)

I've ordered 200+ large worms, and I think I'm going to order another 200 of mixed size since they won't be dispatched until after the Easter break. Until then I'll have to keep sourcing them from the garden. I had no idea I would need so many! A few sites mentioned that the population would double every fortnight so I thought that 200 would be enough :/
The farm I've made is in a 25L shallow container (50x30x20cm). Will this be big enough for 200 or even 500 worms?



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Old 18th April 2014   #32 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

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Originally Posted by NadeZ View Post
Thank you very much! :)

I've ordered 200+ large worms, and I think I'm going to order another 200 of mixed size since they won't be dispatched until after the Easter break. Until then I'll have to keep sourcing them from the garden. I had no idea I would need so many! A few sites mentioned that the population would double every fortnight so I thought that 200 would be enough :/
The farm I've made is in a 25L shallow container (50x30x20cm). Will this be big enough for 200 or even 500 worms?
that should be tons of space for them. I know that a cubic ft (30.5 cubic cm) can support about a pound of worms (~1000) however it also depends on the type and general size of the worms too. eisenia fetida is the most prolific and even they will take at least 4-5 months before the farm starts producing worms you can use. The breed right away if given the right environment and i'm already beginning to see tiny little wormlets in my farm. I did the same thing as you where I initially got too few worms and ran out in a week. I went and bought 2000 worms to feed my axolotls and ACFs. Try to figure out how many worms you'll need each week then add up 4-5 months worth. Add a few dozen breeders on top of that and you'll have a rough estimate of how much you'll need initially.



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Old 18th April 2014   #33 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

I think your plan for 400 is a bit on the low side. Id start with a few more.But you can always top up if you think you're running short.



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Old 18th April 2014   #34 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Oh dear, what exactly would you advise that I order? How many worms and what ratio of mixed to large (if any)? Due to the Easter weekend, I have ample time to cancel the current order and make a new one.



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Old 18th April 2014   #35 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

I'm sure I started with about 1kg for 4 axies and I was fine until I had juvies to feed. But as I said you can get your worm farm set up with less and see how it goes. They may breed quickly in the warm spring we're having and you'll be fine, or you might need to top up in a month or 2.

But you'll get through a hundred worms before you see any babies, and they take 2-3 months to mature to axie-lunch size.



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Old 18th April 2014   #36 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

Hmmm, think I'll cancel the order and buy a kilogram of mixed then. I'm wondering whether my farm will be too basic. Maybe I should make a stacked farm or a huge trough with an open bottom. I want the worms to be plentiful and easy to find for feeding but don't want to lose worms to overcrowding or have them escape if the bottom is open. What are your thoughts on this and how do you clean the worms for feeding? I was wondering if it would be possible to remove a weeks supply, wash them and put them in the fridge with a single potato peel or something so that I don't have to rifle around in the dirt and wash them every day.



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Old 18th April 2014   #37 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

You could keep a few days worth of worms in the fridge at a time - although it's not difficult to find worms in a bucket! I harvest when I need them, it's not hard, they just need rinsing in tap water. In the winter use tepid water to liven them up if they've been kept outside in the cold. Some people 'milk' the worm to remove some of the soil in it's digestive system (just squeeze gently working down from head to tail - like milking a cow) but I don't bother.

I have upgraded to a 4 tier compost wormery - pricey at 60 but well worth it. Worms don't escape at the bottom of those as they are closed - there is drainage at the bottom that collects worm 'tea' (it's wee really) for fertiliser.

Start with 1kg of worms in your tub and see how you get on. Remember to check the bottom for sogginess every week and replace and some soggy soil with fresh if needed.



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Old 21st April 2014   #38 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

1kg should be arriving tomorrow and, since it's tipping it down, I just got about 50 from the garden using the detergent method. What is to stop the worms escaping? I used a drill to make air holes on all sides and having watched them struggle through a seive, I'm a little worried that they will all scarper on day 1!



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Old 22nd April 2014   #39 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

How big are the holes? If they are big enough for worms to escape through yo can cover the over with some fine net or material - sticky tape around a patch should do it. Air can still circulate but worms are kept in. If they are tiny holes it won't be a problem.

As a general rule, if worms are trying to escape up the sides of their bucket they are looking for food.



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Old 22nd April 2014   #40 (permalink)
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Default Re: Worm farming - almost everything you need to know.

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Originally Posted by auntiejude View Post
How big are the holes? If they are big enough for worms to escape through yo can cover the over with some fine net or material - sticky tape around a patch should do it. Air can still circulate but worms are kept in. If they are tiny holes it won't be a problem.

As a general rule, if worms are trying to escape up the sides of their bucket they are looking for food.
Holes are about 2-3mm diameter. I didn't realise that you only need a few holes so I went a little too far with it lol. I assumed that the adhesive in the tape might be bad. I was thinking either cover the sides with nylon tights or build a wooden box to put the farm in. On a related topic, what are the advantages of a multi-tier worm farm?



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